cover image Wit'ch Storm: Book Two of the Banned and the Bannished

Wit'ch Storm: Book Two of the Banned and the Bannished

James Clemens, Jim Clemens. Del Rey Books, $13.95 (496pp) ISBN 978-0-345-41707-7

Clemens continues his carefully constructed epic fantasy adventure (begun in Wit'ch Fire) about Elena, a young farm girl destined to be the ""wit'ch"" of ancient prophecy who will save her land from all-consuming evil, or die trying. The novel opens with Elena and her companions setting off for the legendary lost city of A'loa Glen, to use the magic of the Blood Diary hidden there to defeat the dreaded Dark Lord. A motley and fantastic crew accompanies Elena, including an immoral warrior with a dark past, a half-breed og're, a silver-haired elv'in, a tree-loving nyphai and a pair of si'luran shape-shifters. As Elena struggles to control the magic of the scarlet Rose on her right hand, the adventurers are beset by minions of the Dark Lord--and by internal treachery. Meanwhile, at A'loa Glen, Elena's brother, Joach, snatched by a demon in the preceding novel, has been magically enslaved to Greshym, who serves the Dark Lord by posing as one of the good clerics sworn to protect the lost city from evil. Another side plot introduces Sy-wen, a young ocean-dwelling mer'ai destined to fulfill an ancient prophesy herself: summoning A'loa Glen's protector, the mighty dragon Ragnar'k. There's a lot of character building--much of it expert--but a paucity of action in this installment. Hopefully Clemens will light a fire under the plot in the series' next entry. (May)